The FBI’s Arrest of Alexander Ciccolo: Tainting A Good Job

Ciccolo GunsI had a discussion the other day about the matter involving Boston Police Captain Robert Ciccolo’s son Alexander age 23 who was arrested on July 4, 2015, by the FBI. There is little doubt that Alexander was a clear and present danger to the public and should have been deprived of an opportunity to effectuate his dastardly plans. I think we can all agree on that and for that we can be thankful that the FBI did make the arrest.

What bothered me about the incident are a couple of things. First, my heart goes out to Captain Ciccolo. As a parent I have always kept in mind that at some point the child you nurture and love is going to go off and make decisions for himself (or herself).  How hard it must be to see that child become incapable of making rational decisions because of a mental illness over which one has no control. It is difficult to imagine the torment he, his wife and family have gone through. We read that his son has been estranged from the family for years; but as we know from the parable of the prodigal son there is always hope for a change. How gut wrenching then must Captain Ciccolo’s decision have been to tell the FBI that he thought his son was a potential terrorist threat knowing that in doing that he probably had forfeited any chance of reconciliation with the family.

The FBI began watching Alexander after the father gave them the information on his son last fall. At some point in July they successfully introduced an informant into the situation. The informant was able to enter into various discussions with Alexander in which Alexander showed his desire to commit a terrorist act at some time and some place. He had no definite target in mind it seems talking at one point about attacking a bar celebrating the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision or attacking a police station in another state or some college cafeteria or dorm.

Alexander had become a follower of IS and planned to carry out these attacks as a way of showing his support for that terrorist group. He had told the FBI informant that he would like to carry out his attack prior to July 31. To make the attack effective he wanted to get some firearms and also planned to buy a pressure cooker like the ones used in the Boston Marathon terrorist attack. On July 3 the FBI watched as he bought a pressure cooker at Walmart. He then sent a message to the FBI informant noting his success in doing this.

Alexander apparently has had mental health issues in the past. According to a reporter at NECN  he had been in and out of mental health facilities since he was a child; when he became 18 he refused further treatment. That may explain his becoming infatuated with the evil IS but it does not justify his actions.

I said I was bothered by a couple of things. The first is the gun charge. It was the FBI that supplied the four guns to Alexanders. It gave them to its informant to give to him. When the guns were handed to Alexander they arrested him with the guns. They then displayed the guns as part of their publicity about the arrest.

Without the FBI supplying the guns Alexander could not have purchased them himself. From what I understand he did not have the money nor would he have passed the required gun background check because of previous convictions. The FBI admitted in the Charleston case where nine people were murdered that its failure allowed Dylann Storm Roof to buy a gun.  It is fair to say Alexander would not have had guns but for the FBI help. Although legally this is not entrapment, it strikes me as a little bit disingenuous to suggest those guns were part of his plans in carrying out those attacks.

The other part is the timing. I wrote about FBI Director Comey telling us of over ten arrests of people who were planning terrorist attacks for the Fourth of July. He said those arrests thwarted the attack. I suggested he is trying to spook the American people.

Alexander did not plan his attack in conjunction with the Fourth. Nor did Rahim or the other two who were arrested with him. These four have been mentioned in connection with Comey’s statement in news accounts. If Comey is including those four arrests as part of those who planned the attacks on the Fourth then we know he is not leveling with us. It is time that he tell us the identity of those who planned the Fourth of July attacks so that we can judge his truthfulness.

6 thoughts on “The FBI’s Arrest of Alexander Ciccolo: Tainting A Good Job

  1. As voters and taxpayers as well as primary consumers
    of FBI activities
    we must thank Matt
    for his consistent critical
    analysis of FBI agent conduct.

    I tend to view the FBI through the Macro lens.

    Some of my favorite questions about the
    FBI are:

    What would FBI agents have to do
    to motivate us to shut down the FBI?

    How do we shut down the FBI?

    Did FBI agents deliberately replace
    communism with islam/terrorism
    by creating terrorist events?

    in other news
    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/07/14/methuen-police-gave-preference-those-who-wouldn-arrest-fellow-officers/huMZ5URc4PeOdSReNmYDzK/story.html#

    The Methuen police department gave preference to job candidates who
    said they wouldn’t arrest relatives or fellow officers for drunken
    driving, the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission found.

    A Civil Service Commission official wrote that he was dismayed to
    learn that the city gave higher points to applicants who said they
    wouldn’t arrest a family member or an officer they knew, while docking
    points from who said they would.

  2. Ciccolo certainly appears to be a danger, but all of the evidence to that effect comes from the FBI. The FBI’s lack of credibility along with the formulaic nature of this case make me wonder the extent to which Ciccolo was truly a danger.
    Too many of the FBI’s “domestic terrorist” cases have the same elements to be coincidence. The first element is a mentally ill person. The mentally ill person is invariably unemployable, broke, a loner, and a regular user of social media/Internet.
    The transition from mentally ill loner to “domestic terrorist” begins when the person falls under the influence of an FBI informant. Soon, the person is saying and writing incriminating things about himself and his new-found terrorist tendencies. Its damning evidence, but still just the rantings of a mentally ill person (albeit being fed ideas by an FBI informant). Next, the FBI informant provides the “terrorist” with some cash with which to take some steps toward a terrorist act. Then the FBI informant helps the terrorist obtain weapons that the person could not have obtained on their own. Lastly, the FBI informant induced the terrorist to take action towards a target so the FBI can arrest the terrorist in a car the FBI provided to him, while in possession of FBI cash and FBI guns/weapons.
    It’s all too cute for my liking.
    The FBI has arrested hundreds of “domestic terrorists” and far too many of the cases are identical. The FBI is desperate to convince the public that they are kicking ass on terrorism. The only thing they’re doing is protecting us from mentally ill people who were no danger to us until the FBI made them look that way. Apparently, the FBI doesn’t even believe some of these terrorists are dangerous as they accidentally left a recording device on while discussing the Sami Osmakac case:
    Heres an excerpt from an article about the prosecution of Sami Osmakac in FL, :
    “In other recorded conservations, Richard Worms, the FBI squad supervisor, describes Osmakac as a “retarded fool” who doesn’t have “a pot to piss in.” The agents talk about the prosecutors’ eagerness for a “Hollywood ending” for their sting. They refer to Osmakac’s targets as “wishy-washy,” and his terrorist ambitions as a “pipe-dream scenario.” The transcripts show FBI agents struggled to put $500 in Osmakac’s hands so he could make a down payment on the weapons — something the Justice Department insisted on to demonstrate Osmakac’s capacity for and commitment to terrorism.”
    (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/03/16/howthefbicreatedaterrorist/ )

    Here’s a few other examples of such cases that illustrate the FBI’s formula for a domestic terrorism case:

    http://m.democracynow.org/stories/15157

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-fbi-entrapment-is-inventing-terrorists-and-letting-bad-guys-off-the-hook-20120515

    1. Patty:
      Ciccolo certainly appears to be a danger, but all of the evidence to that effect comes from the FBI. The FBI’s lack of credibility along with the formulaic nature of this case make me wonder the extent to which Ciccolo was truly a danger.
      Too many of the FBI’s “domestic terrorist” cases have the same elements to be coincidence. The first element is a mentally ill person. The mentally ill person is invariably unemployable, broke, a loner, and a regular user of social media/Internet.
      The transition from mentally ill loner to “domestic terrorist” begins when the person falls under the influence of an FBI informant. Soon, the person is saying and writing incriminating things about himself and his new-found terrorist tendencies. Its damning evidence, but still just the rantings of a mentally ill person (albeit being fed ideas by an FBI informant). Next, the FBI informant provides the “terrorist” with some cash with which to take some steps toward a terrorist act. Then the FBI informant helps the terrorist obtain weapons that the person could not have obtained on their own. Lastly, the FBI informant induced the terrorist to take action towards a target so the FBI can arrest the terrorist in a car the FBI provided to him, while in possession of FBI cash and FBI guns/weapons.
      It’s all too cute for my liking.
      The FBI has arrested hundreds of “domestic terrorists” and far too many of the cases are identical. The FBI is desperate to convince the public that they are kicking ass on terrorism. The only thing they’re doing is protecting us from mentally ill people who were no danger to us until the FBI made them look that way. Apparently, the FBI doesn’t even believe some of these terrorists are dangerous as they accidentally left a recording device on while discussing the Sami Osmakac case:
      Heres an excerpt from an article about the prosecution of Sami Osmakac in FL, :
      “In other recorded conservations, Richard Worms, the FBI squad supervisor, describes Osmakac as a “retarded fool” who doesn’t have “a pot to piss in.” The agents talk about the prosecutors’ eagerness for a “Hollywood ending” for their sting. They refer to Osmakac’s targets as “wishy-washy,” and his terrorist ambitions as a “pipe-dream scenario.” The transcripts show FBI agents struggled to put $500 in Osmakac’s hands so he could make a down payment on the weapons — something the Justice Department insisted on to demonstrate Osmakac’s capacity for and commitment to terrorism.”
      (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/03/16/howthefbicreatedaterrorist/ )
      Here’s a few other examples of such cases that illustrate the FBI’s formula for a domestic terrorism case:
      http://m.democracynow.org/stories/15157
      http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-fbi-entrapment-is-inventing-terrorists-and-letting-bad-guys-off-the-hook-20120515
      Unapprove | Reply | Quick E

      Patty:
      I agree that the FBI has fallen into a formulistic pattern which seems more apparent in some of these recent case but it also goes back years. You may recall the FBI touting its break up of a group that planned to take down the highest building in Chicago. None of the dopes had ever left Florida and the so-called equipment that they were going to use was provided by the FBI just before it arrested them.
      You spell out what is occurring in many of the latest cases quite well. They start with someone who is mentally ill or of limited intelligence who may have a beef with life and who is down on his luck. Stick some guy in with him, someone who they have jammed in and will get a sweetheart deal if he can get some “terrorist.” They then direct their guy what to say and when he gets the target worked up to say damaging things they escalate the plot by giving as you note guns and money for him to commit some horrid act they put in his mind and then the arrest him before he commits it.
      I don’t like it; rather than stoking Ciccolo up it would have been better to get him some help since he was clearly having mental problems. My real problem with it is while they are concentrating on the Cicollos they are not tuned into finding the real terrorists like Abdulazeez out of Chattanooga. There is a tragic side in all this.
      The FBI believes its own bull. The Director told how it stopped terrorist attacks planned for the Fourth which was nonsense. He said they arrested over ten people to stop them but won’t tell us who they are. Yes, the FBI is trying to con the American people but the way it is handling these matters seems to indicate it is conning itself.
      None of the people the FBI have picked off as terrorists are professional ISIS types. It will only be a matter of time before some come and the way the FBI is playing around with mentally ill people indicates it will miss them.
      All this is compounded by having no independent body able to review FBI files. We have no way of knowing how many of their informants have committed major crimes white working for the FBI. We don’t know for sure whether Tamerlan was an informant since it cannot be believed. We do know it will do all in its power to avoid embarrassment so that means hiding its relationship with people who were working for it and who commit notorious crimes. Remember the FBI was trying to recruit the guy killed in Roslindale, Rahim, before they gunned him down.
      Unfortunately what seems to be entrapment is no longer entrapment so the courts sit back and do little other than follow the guidelines. The system is not what it should be. Thanks for the nice comment and the information.

  3. This is not the only case where the FBI gave material help to its target in alleged terrorism cases. Over and over they seem to be going after hapless losers, planting ideas in their heads and providing all the material support for the scary, scary terrorist plot they’ll proceed to trumpet so they can keep us all hiding under the bed because the terrorists (formerly communists) are behind every bush, just waiting to kill us all, oh my God, we’re all gonna die, help, help, Big Brother, we need you so much. Or maybe I’m just too cynical.

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